Someone told me recently that having a women’s weekend called “Sex-Money-Power” sounds masculine. When I probed further, they said “power” is more of a man’s word and that women don’t really relate to it. I’ve been chewing on that idea and continuing to have conversations with people I met at TEDx last week with people who are really new to the idea of sexual power so I want to break it down a bit in this article.

Dolce & Gabbana’s controversial ad

The idea of power is so often related to someone being “all-powerful” as in, “all mighty”, or “power-hungry” which is not considered a good thing to be. “Power” has been used in many unkind and even harmful ways to control others, to enslave others, or even to destroy homes and communities. Many people have such associations when power is discussed. Add “sexual” to this equation and many people think of exploitation, rape, of an adult with “more power” harming a child or women being raped during wartime, where non-consensual sex is used as a weapon.

These examples are of people using power OVER others, which, by definition, will mean someone always ends up disempowered.

When I talk about one’s sexual power, or the importance of feeling powerful sexually as well as with money, I’m not talking about power-over. I’m talking about being powerful from within and power-with. Everyone needs a sense of personal power, or agency over their own sexual well-being, financial life, and fulfillment. This is about knowing you can affect and direct what happens to you and your life—that indeed you do have the power to live your dreams and develop your life according to your own plan. In order to do that fully, you must be rooted in your own personal power and agency, and you can do it without taking someone else down.

You can also have shared power with your partner, spouse, or lover when it comes to both sex and finances—an ideal place to be and very important for most modern couples who are no longer marrying for money, status or convenience, but rather, for personal fulfillment, love and companionship. When there is a shared power that feels healthy and good for both partners in a relationship, you can then have more freedom to play with power sexually. Power is always part of sex.

Why do people shy away from talking about sexual power? Because we are taught to see power as the move to force others to do things they don’t want to do, which means they will experience a lack of agency; or to enforce your rules regardless of what someone else wants, and that means someone might be hurt sexually. No one likes that kind of power, unless they are the one exercising it. No one wants to be told what to do and how to do it or to feel like they do not have choices—and choice is an essential component of one’s personal power, sexual or otherwise.

Do I defer my sexual power to someone else?

Yet a lot of people have no idea how to make those choices because they don’t know what they want or what’s even possible because we’ve kept people in the dark so much about sex. And we’ve taught women especially that sex is not about them—it’s about someone else. As a result, they don’t know what they want personally, nor do they know how to ask for it if they get an inkling of something they want. So how do they make choices? They defer to someone else—usually their sexual partner—who seems to know more. Not a powerful place.

There are real extremes in our world with sex, money and power. They are used in the world to enslave and destroy. They can also liberate and help us to achieve true freedom. There are no two things that can help a person achieve personal freedom more than sex and money. These are edgy topics that trigger so many things in us: our history with them, our own personal stories, the way they’ve been used against us, our families and communities, and that tends to make us uncomfortable, concluding that sex and/or money are the problem. Get uncomfortable enough and you will reject them totally, which means you also reject the possibility of your own personal empowerment too.

To assess where you are with your own personal power around sex and money, ask yourself:

  • Do sex and/or money have power over me?
  • Do I make authentic decisions about sex based on what I really want or what someone else wants?
  • Do I feel powerful with sex and money?
  • Does lack of money rule me, my daily decisions and the choices that govern what I do in life?
  • Or is money simply a component of how I exercise my own free will?
  • Do I defer my sexual power to someone else? Or do I use my sexual power over others?
  • Do I think of sex as something someone does to me or with me?

Sex and money are both tools. They are also ways we transform our lives tremendously when we step into our own power. Your power as a sexual being has nothing to do with anyone else. It’s yours. It’s for you. How powerful would you be if what everyone else thinks or wants didn’t matter? I posed that question to the women in my women’s sexual empowerment program this week. It’s hard to imagine because we can’t erase the culture around us that has formed so many of our ideas.

Find that power within yourself

But truly, if you are anchored in a real way at your own core and desire and you meet the world from there, that’s the most powerful place you can be. Most women are outside of themselves trying to find power. They aren’t at home within themselves and exercising power from there. A woman who knows what she wants and goes for it is a powerhouse. She will stand out because so many women are not that clear.

If you were to come home to yourself and exercise power from this internal place, what would have to change in your life? Are you ready to find that power within yourself? If you are, you can’t use other people as an excuse to not live the life you want to live anymore or for your choices. Most people live their whole lives that way. If you are ready to step into YOU in a bigger way and know your own power in a deeper way, so much is possible.

I’d love to talk to you about that sex-money-power nexus that is a core of personal empowerment. These conversations and the transformation that can happen in that locus of power are what light me up in service to other women. Let’s have that real conversation so we can all step into true personal power. It truly will change the world when enough of us live from that core power source within.